Lonely path more in touch

16th April 2004 at 01:00
As the only delegate to speak against the NUT's package of anti-workforce agreement action, some might consider it a bit rich for Simon Horne to criticise his union for "living in splendid isolation".

But the science teacher from Whitefield school, Barnet, north London, believes he is more in touch with the views of ordinary members than most of the other 952 delegates present in Harrogate last weekend.

Mr Horne was of no more than five delegates who voted against the call to strike to prevent teaching assistants taking classes, believes that the move has not been properly thought-through and is unlikely to be supported by members.

"In conferences we call for action right, left and centre but calling for members to go out on strike against a reduction in workload is crazy," he said.

Also among the nay-sayers was Elspeth Jones a supply teacher from Halstead, north Essex.

She condemned the idea of classroom assistants taking classes as teaching on the cheap. But she was concerned that strikes against unqualified staff teaching whole classes would affect the many instructors with only RSA qualifications who had been teaching lessons such as home economics and woodwork for years.

"We have made very good use of people who are not qualified teachers and it would be a shame to see them penalised if this action went through," she said.

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